By Marsha M. Brown
The season of thankfulness and hope is upon us and that truth was confirmed over and again this past week. Hence, I have a lot to tell you…so let’s get right down to it!
First and foremost, if you believe that you’re part of a broader picture…that you’re joined at the hip with other military ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’…those you know and those you’ve never met…the first thing to do is to consider attending a benefit to help a young local veteran, who formerly served in the U. S. Marine Corp in Desert Storm.
The benefit will take place at Kelly’s Outer Banks Restaurant & Tavern this Sunday, November 16, 2014 – 2pm to 6pm where you can help a ‘brother’ through a trying time in his life.
A very much loved Ray Bowser (known by close friends as ‘Ray Ray’) who served our country honorably very recently suffered a stroke. Though Ray is recovering, it goes without saying that such an incident takes a toll on a young family. This Sunday, the good folks of Dare County will have a chance to show the support for Ray that he deserves. While you’re there, you’ll enjoy local music, some food and a raffle and the proceeds collected will help Ray personally. Friends and family invite you to make a donation if you’re able and if so, please make checks payable to him. If you’re unable to attend the function, but are interested in helping, please send your love offering payable to: Ray Bowser, P.O. Box 723, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948. In advance of the event, thank you on behalf of those closest to Ray for showing that you care and that his service was not forgotten.
On Saturday, Nov. 1st the V.F.W. Post 10950 held a cookout at the site of the Lions Club parking lot in Kill Devil Hills. If you all remember that day we had threatening weather enough so that many outdoor functions were cancelled last minute…but, veterans are used to ‘weathering the storm’ as they say and still held the event just the same. Leave it to veterans not to give up. And while their spirits were only slightly dampened with low attendance, they’re making plans again to announce another function in the near future of which I’ll keep you posted!
Last Saturday night the 4th annual ‘SALUTE TO VETERANS’ again filled Manteo First Assembly. Countless hugs, kisses and pats on the back flooded the sanctuary before and after the initial program and original play ‘Brotherhood’. All together close to 60 people who took part in putting on the event to honor our veterans and to help tell a story about the special bond that only veterans can understand.
For the first time, an offering was accepted on behalf of local Dare County veterans who might face an unexpected emergency and/or toward a future scholarship for a veteran’s child. The love offering that was collected in its entirety will be conveyed to the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council as a ‘donation’ and disbursed accordingly. Folks were very kind and generous that night, so thank you all from the bottom of our heart! Speaking as a Manteo First Assembly member myself, I can attest to the devotion of all the cast members, singers, music & media, tech crew, lighting, direction, stage and prop construction etc. about their goal to do their best for our vets.
This year the embrace for the men and women who have donned a United States military uniform was fervently felt. From the oldest to the youngest, everyone loved being a part of a production and many involved in the program/play itself were veterans of all the branches; members from other churches took part as actors and filled various rolls; the Boy Scouts of America Troop #165 respectfully Posted Colors and our audience of faithful attendees included a veteran and his wife from Columbia. Active duty U. S. Army SSG. Michael D. Bird of the U. S. Army Recruiting Center, Elizabeth City, N. C. saw to fruition yet another ‘SALUTE TO VETERANS’. SSG. Bird has been faithful to our celebration of veterans and in turn has demonstrated his love of country consecutively over the past four years. Having been dedicated to our annual event, he’s become ‘family’ to my sweetie pie Billy and I and we’re proud and blessed to know him. SSG. Bird has willingly come each year and in doing so, he’s contributed to a better understanding and respect of the P.O.W. & M.I.A. and Thirteen Folds of the Flag ceremonies and besides that he has stood tall as a fine representative of the United States Army. This time, we met his beautiful wife and fellow Staff Sergeant John Day who may help us in the future should SSG. Bird be deployed. We welcome SSG. Day as part of our ‘SALUTE’ family and we’ll always love and appreciate SSG. Bird for the real blessing he has been in our lives.
Veteran’s Day events that took place on Tuesday, Nov. 11th were again touching and memorable. Friends and lovers of veterans gathered at the memorial sites in Manteo, Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills and Southern Shores even through the rain to honor the living sacrifice to our country…veterans who live each day to serve, honor and protect. In doing so, we were reminded of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice too standing up for the oppressed; defending the defenseless and holding nobility and pride as a privilege. Our veterans have made the indelible mark of respect for a nation…our nation…”one nation under God”.
While Billy, the absolute love of my life, was busy attending to and participating in the events in Dare County, my cousin Elma rode with me to speak in Tyrrell County at the American Legion Post 182 Veteran’s Day Celebration. Having been asked by Mr. Leroy Spivey, a veteran and Tyrrell County Commissioner, it was both my honor and privilege. The event was very nice and I was happy to see not only the number of WWII veterans but also the Boy Scouts of America…our future leaders, who sat politely and patiently throughout the event. I was proud of all the faces of experience that looked back at me as I spoke at the podium…they were heroes…each and every one and I was proud to be in their company.
The weathered, seasoned WWII veterans and younger Afghanistan and Iraq veterans too…as well the Korean, Desert Storm and Vietnam veterans and others…they all made me take a deep breath more than once. When the beautiful service was over and I had the opportunity to meet some of the folks from the audience, a lady approached me to ask for my personal mailing address to send me something in the mail. She told me she had written a letter of apology to Vietnam veterans and she asked if I’d like to have it. I quickly responded, “Yes, I would very much like to have it!” I was grateful that she had approached me and I was inspired to think that folks in the public arena are talking about more than ever before about the unnecessary heartache imposed on veterans who had already suffered so much. I saw her approach as positive and healing and I look forward to hearing from her…hopefully soon. When I do I’ll share her thoughts with you even if in summary.
Until next time…THANK YOU TO ALL VETERANS EVERYWHERE! We are grateful for your service, your steadfast care of our country and to each other. Let’s keep pumping up the volume together and show that the stripes on your back…much like the ones on our flag will not be forgotten nor taken for granted.
God bless you and your family. Be happy, be safe and be proud and until next time…my sweetie pie and I love you all. Stay tuned.